Family celebrating Thanksgiving during pandemic

Why a Healthy Thanksgiving Has an Entirely New Meaning This Year

Thanksgiving is one of the most cherished traditions in American culture. Visiting family and loved ones, sometimes traveling far to do so, and sharing a homecooked meal on the fourth Thursday of every November is something Americans look forward to every year. While we try to eat a little healthier with such a large meal incoming, this year, staying healthy means something different.

Unfortunately, this holiday season is laced with risk because of the coronavirus pandemic. Each of us have been tempted time after time with violating public health experts’ guidelines, whether by visiting family to celebrate a birthday or just having a bite to eat at a restaurant with a friend. The holiday season, however, represents a shared temptation, different than any before it, that is likely stronger than the others.

Families around the country are now considering alternative Thanksgiving celebrations, such as virtual dinners. However your family decides to celebrate this year, review these tips before making plans.

ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO CELEBRATE

Virtual Thanksgiving.

This method of celebrated is highly recommended by the CDC. A virtual dinner, using video chat applications, such as Zoom, Skype, Google Duo and Facebook Messenger can actually be a beautiful way to recreate the big, festive Thanksgiving dinner we are used to, but doing it in a way that is safe for your families and friends. If planning to celebrate this way, be sure to send out invitations early and make sure everyone has access to the required technology.

Thanksgiving dinner basket.

Cooking a meal, packaging it and dropping it off for loved ones can be an excellent way to stay connected and safe. Currently, there is no evidence that people can become infected from eating food but be sure to wash the utensils thoroughly. This can be an especially thoughtful way to celebrate with those who live alone and may not feel inclined to cook.

Keep it small.

Instead of joining your extended family for a meal, consider eating with only those who live in your household. If a virtual dinner is not an option, this is a safe alternative. This can drastically limit the potential spread of the virus and allows everyone in your family to stay safe. Try to grocery shop ahead of time to avoid crowded stores on the day of. It is strongly encouraged that you consider not attending in-person gatherings this year.

In-person dinner.

There are ways to celebrate in person. Although this method is not recommended as the risk of infection is very high, the CDC provides guidance for in-person gatherings. These precautions include limiting contact with others for two weeks before Thanksgiving, have only person serve the food, wash your hands regularly, wear a mask when indoors and not eating, among others. If your family plans to celebrate in person, be sure to review the CDC guidelines.

As much as your family loves and wants to see each other, cases of COVID-19 are on the rise. A family in Maine is currently mourning the loss of seven family members after a wedding reception. Those who died did not attend the reception, but the infection spread from family members who did attend.

While many Americans are used to big celebrations with family, nobody should feel pressured to match that same level this year. No matter how your family celebrates Thanksgiving this year, whether it be in person or not, the circumstances we are in this year should not make it any less special. It is important to acknowledge that this year is not going to look like previous ones, but taking these precautions is the best thing we can do to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.

Related:

COVID-19: What You Need to Know

Your Responsibility if Exposed to COVID-19

The Difference Between COVID-19 and the Flu

Photo credit: LightFieldStudios

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